Ireland is now a “cold house for conservatives”, according to Newstalk Breakfast host Ciara Kelly.
Yesterday, Iona Institute CEO David Quinn wrote a column in which he claimed that “almost no-one likes to describe themselves as a ‘conservative’” in modern Ireland”.
Mr Quinn, who was a prominent ‘No’ advocate in Ireland’s referendums on abortion and gay marriage, said many people associate conservatism with being “against ‘progress’”, when it is more about “personal responsibility, preserving the social fabric and promoting the common good”.
Newstalk Breakfast presenter Ciara Kelly said she disagrees with Mr Quinn on many issues but does accept that many Irish people have a negative attitude towards conservatism.
“I don’t agree with everything he said but I do agree Ireland is a cold house for conservative views,” she said.
“I think we are all or nothing in this country; at one point, all we were was conservative and if you were a liberal, you were dismissed and derided.
“Now, I think it’s gone the other way around and cancel culture is a real thing.”
She noted that the Iona Institute is often falsely labelled ‘far-right’ when in fact, the group is made up of ‘Catholic conservatives’.
“I am a liberal, I am not a conservative, I don’t agree with David Quinn on social issues on almost anything,” she said.
“But as a liberal, I defend very strongly his right to hold his views.”
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) November 6, 2023
'A changing of the guard'
Co-presenter Jonathan Healy said many conservatives in Ireland are struggling to adapt to an era where their social views are no longer as popular as they once were.
“David Quinn is somebody who writes columns that people read and they respect and they disagree with,” he said.
“The idea, however, that conservatives are somehow being either oppressed in this country [is not correct].
“They really need to turn up the flames on those pitchforks if people are targeting conservatives that way.
“I just think there is perhaps a changing of the guard from when conservative views ruled completely, to a position where conservative views are heard but not necessarily enforced [and] that is sitting uncomfortably with them.”
Main image: Ciara Kelly